Contending For More!
Contending For More!
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19)
Not even the gates of Hades, the powers of death, of which nothing on earth is stronger, shall exceed the church in strength. It is a statement, which if laid hold of by faith, could redefine our expectation for breakthrough in every place and circumstance where Satan boasts of his dominion.
If this is true, and these are the “red-letter edition’ words of Jesus, then every gate of hell and every spiritual power can be potentially overcome and prevailed against, by every believer. If this is true, then it becomes the obligation and the marching orders of every follower of Yeshua to become the “church” that Jesus declares her to be.
It is time for the ecclesia, all those who profess belief in Yeshua our Messiah, to live up to her name, which is this essential and defining purpose that Yeshua gave His disciples in Matthew 16:18-19.
The term church comes from the Greek word known as ecclesia. The ecclesia was a ruling body of a Greek city-state (Acts 19:39). It would be like the city council over your town or city. Jesus transfers the meaning of that ruling body to His ‘church,’ or more aptly stated all believers in Yeshua. Here He is clearly outlining for us His glorious intentions or responsibility of all followers of Yeshua.
It was not just to be a gathering of believers coming together for worship and sharing a common life. It was to be more than that. It was to be a ruling body called out by God to exercise spiritual authority and dominion over every spiritual and earthly institution of oppression and over every control center of injustice.
Disciples of Yeshua are called to be a war council of the highest measure. This body of believers, according to Derek Prince in his book Light and Salt, are to exercise, through prayers and decrees, the weapons of binding and loosing which brings heaven into the earth realm, forbidding hell’s invasion of this planet.
As a result of this calling, it is our responsibility therefore, to set our mind to contend for the power of God continuously as a lifestyle!
Jude 1:3 Message: Fight with All You Have in You. –
“Dear friends, I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you, for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish.”
Jude, the half brother of Yeshua, continues as he says in verse 17-21
“But remember, dear friends, that the apostles of our Master, Jesus Christ, told us this would happen: “In the last days there will be people who don’t take these things seriously anymore. They’ll treat them like a joke, and make a religion of their own whims and lusts. These are the ones who split churches, thinking only of themselves. There’s nothing to them, no sign of the Spirit! But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!”
In Luke 11 we read that in Yeshua we not only have, but also become the light of the world.
“No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.
Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” (Luke 11:33-36 NLV)
In the Gospel of John 5:35 we read that we are a shining and burning lamp. This statement actually comes from the prophet Isaiah, “I will not rest until I make you shining and burning lamps” (Isa. 62:1).
The light source or lamp of the body, both physical and spiritual is the eye or our mind. The source, being light or dark, is dependent on what we see and or think about. The lamp of the body is therefore the light source of the human experience and is the setting of our mind. What do you set your mind on? What do you spend your time and emery thinking about?
Apostle Paul tells us in the book of Colossians 3:1-3 that if we are serious followers of Yeshua than He becomes our life source! He is what we are to set our minds upon.
“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.”
Again later in the book of Colossians, the Apostle defines for us what it means to be a follower of Yeshua.
“And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better” (Col. 3:5-7).
This lifestyle can only happen with a fierce intentionality. We are told in Matthew 11:12 “the violent take it by force.” In other words, we need a fierce determination if we are to live a lifestyle that continually contends for more of God’s power to fill the earth. Only when we have set our mind on Yeshua and keep it there, are we able to contend for the power of God to be displayed in our lives and on the earth.
Beloved it is true that we receive salvation as a gift. It is automatic and we receive many blessing because of the gift of salvation. We receive this gift if we really want it and we receive it through repentance we get it.
There is another dimension of God’s power that is not automatically received. It is taken by force by those who are steadfast, in believing prayer as we trust and obey in our continuous contending for more!
Force means all that is involved in the grace of God and denying the normal way of life by pressing (contending) into fasting and believing prayer, and persevering, bearing reproach as we choose to resist our fleshly lusts.
Sadly many Christian do pray but not all pray in belief. They do not completely trust God and most Christians when they do pray, don’t press into the more that God has for us Yeshua. They are simply satisfied to stay where they are. I would say these believers are not the serious ones as describe by Apostle Paul above.
I tell you I am not satisfied in my walk with God, nor am I satisfied with what I see taking place in our nation and the world today. I want more, do you? I want more of God and His power manifesting in my life and that is where force and violence are needed. Force and violence go together. If you want to see the kingdom of heaven on earth as it is in heaven you must take it by force. You must press into God and contend by fighting for the fullness of what Jesus Christ paid on the cross for us and planet earth to have.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
“Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.” Part of this song is from the song of Moses Ex.15: 2.
Just as Israel sang a song of deliverance after crossing the Red Sea, Israel will once again sing a song of deliverance from what looked like certain annihilation by the anti-Christ. Israel has been and will be delivered from the anti Christ, just as pharaoh was destroyed so will the antichrist be destroyed.
As believes we must now sing a song of praise continuously because Yeshua has delivered us from the hands of Satan through the power of His cross and the shedding of His blood. Then you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.
“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “ If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” TODAY JESUS IS GLORIFIED)
And in that day you will say, “Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.”
There are four things listed in this verse in Isaiah that Israel will do and which each and every believer should being doing now – continuously!
- Praise the Lord constantly
- Call upon His name constantly
- Declare His wondrous works in the earth constantly.
- Make mention that His Name is exalted constantly.
That is what I call “prayer without ceasing” according to Philippians 4:4-7.
“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Let’s be a people of God who have and keep our eyes (mind) on Christ, Yeshua our Messiah. People who are serious and are willing to live a life style that includes violence in believing prayer and fasting so we can take the kingdom by force with the fullness of power God has already secured for us.
As it is in heaven so it be on earth!
Dr. Jo Anna Watson